[LAU] 384kHz DAC - Monolith USB?

David Kastrup dak at gnu.org
Sun May 20 13:21:17 CEST 2018

ralf.mardorf at alice-dsl.net (Ralf Mardorf) writes:

> On Tue, 2018-04-03 at 20:56 +0200, Ralf Mardorf wrote:
>> On Tue, 3 Apr 2018 14:34:54 -0400, Chris Chronopoulos wrote:
>> > i'm not aware of any configuration that will get you >16 channels
>> > analog for <$1k.
>> How about the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20? I own one, it provides 18 input
>> and 20 output channels for less than USD 1000.00, including an
>> additional required ADAT deviceand and S/PDIF device.
>> It works OTTB with Linux.
> Sure, the audio quality of the I/Os of this Focusrite setup can't hold a
> candle to the audio quality of my RME gear, which provides less I/Os by
> a completely different price range. However, do you think you could
> build professional audio quality circuits at home, by less costs, than a
> vendor such as  RME could build, by a larger scale production, than you
> do at home?

If you got 1€ of satisfaction out of every mention of your Hammerfall
DSP, you probably got back its price threefold.  If not its weight in

RME does not develop their own audio ADCs, they use similar converters
as everybody else.  Their analog circuitry around it is good and
durable, and they are pretty good with continued driver support and also
delivered good info in more active ALSA development times.

In the mean time, converter development has moved on.  The audio quality
of quite a few setups can definitely hold a candle to that of older RME
gear by now.  And for now.  In 10 years, gear might have died of
hardware failure and/or bit rot while the RME keeps running as long as
you can connect it to your computer, assuming you replaced the Asian
power brick which has likely given up its ghost long ago but can be
replaced by a wagonload of different choices.

There have been listening tests for different ADC converters ranging
from very affordable to very expensive.  It's already rather hard to
distinguish boutique preamps from run-of-the-mill preamps, and it's much
harder to actually tell apart different converters in double-blind
listening tests.

It's really more the reliability and robustness and product value
preservation that sets apart products like those from RME.  The actual
conversion quality, due to relying on the same kind of parts, is not as
much an issue these days.

David Kastrup

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